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The Silver Rose

An evening with Graeme Murphy, Janet Vernon and David McAllister
in the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre
Thursday 19 February 2010

David McAllister AM, Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon
in Studio 8 after their talk

We were privileged to hear Graeme and Janet speak about their new ballet The Silver Rose, inspired by Richard Strauss's opera Der Rosenkavalier. Graeme spoke with passion of the main theme: a mature woman who sees her lover fall for a younger woman and finally gives them her blessing. This plot is interwoven with many sub-plots (see synopsis on The Australian Ballet website.) The ballet was commissioned in 2005 for the Bavarian State Ballet. Conditions specified by the Strauss family ruled out use of the opera score, so Graeme collaborated with Carl Vine to choose suitable extracts from Vine's oeuvre. The beautiful sets and costumes were designed by Roger Kirk, and Graeme is delighted that these have been acquired and brought to Australia.

Rehearsals had been in progress for some weeks. Both Graeme and Janet, who plays a large part in the critical matching of dancers to roles, praised the breadth of talent available in the Company. Graeme noted that as dancers gain experience, their technique becomes more instinctive and their artistry is free to develop. He commented how well the Company was balanced in this regard, with dancers at all stages of development, from recent graduates right through to principal artists. There will be four separate casts for most cities, and five for Melbourne, and all are adding their own signatures to the performance.

David McAllister spoke warmly of the work of Graeme and Janet. He then led a very informative Question-and-Answer session. In conclusion, he advised us to make sure that we saw all the different casts to enjoy their unique qualities, and teased us with the very vaguest of hints about the exciting program taking shape for 2011.


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